Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Component 6: Singles v. Doubles v. Triples

In the sixth step of calculating Player Wins and Losses, batters, pitchers, and fielders are given credit and blame for the number of bases gained on hits on balls-in-play, i.e., singles versus doubles versus triples.

1.    Calculation of Component 6 Player Game Points
Given that the batter reached base safely on a ball-in-play (via either hit or error), credits/debits are assigned in Component 6 for how many bases the batter gains. Basically, Component 6 credits batters for hitting doubles and triples as opposed to singles. Component 6 points are assigned assuming average baserunner advancement. Credits for baserunner outs and advancements are assigned in Components 8 and 9. Overall, Component 6 accounts for approximately 3.5% of total Player decisions from 1921 - 2018. This has declined slightly, to 3.2% since 2000.

2.    Division of Component 6 Game Points Between Pitchers and Fielders
Component 6 Player Games are shared between pitchers and fielders based on the extent to which player winning percentages persist across different sample periods. The mathematics underlying this division is described elsewhere.

To summarize, one measure of the extent to which a particular factor is a skill is the extent to which a player’s winning percentage persists over time. To evaluate the persistence of skills, I fit a simple persistence equation which modeled Component 6 winning percentage on even-numbered plays as a function of Component 6 winning percentage on odd-numbered plays:

(Component 6 Win Pct)Even = b•(Component 6 Win Pct)Odd + (1-b)•(WinPct)Baseline

where (WinPct)Baseline represents a baseline winning percentage toward which Component 6 winning percentages regress over time. Equations of this type were fit for Component 6 Player Game Points for pitchers and fielders. Separate equations were estimated for each fielding position (except for pitcher, obviously). The results for these equations are shown below. A brief explanation of these variables follows.

The number n is the number of players over whom the equation was estimated, that is, who accumulated any Player wins and/or losses on both odd- and even-numbered plays. The value R2 measures the percentage of variation in the dependent variable (WinPctEven) explained by the equation (i.e., explained by WinPctOdd). The numbers in parentheses are t-statistics. T-statistics measure the significance of b, that is, the confidence we have that b is greater than zero. The greater the t-statistic, the more confident we are that the true value of b is greater than zero. Roughly speaking, if the t-statistic is greater than 2, then we can be at least 95% certain that the true value of b is greater than zero (assuming that certain statistical assumptions regarding our model hold). The value of (WinPct)Baseline, the baseline winning percentage toward which winning percentages regress over time, is set equal to 0.500 by construction.
note: To be precise, I estimate unique Persistence Equations for every season, which use all of my data in all of these equations, but weight the data based on how close to the season of interest it is. The equations shown here weight each season equally.

Persistence of Component 6 Winning Percentage: Catcher
Pitchers:  n = 13,723, R2 = -1.1833
WinPctEven = (-57.06%)*WinPctOdd + (157.06%)*0.5000 (-87.04)
Catchers:  n = 4,661, R2 = -0.0695
WinPctEven = (-1.21%)*WinPctOdd + (101.21%)*0.5000 (-0.915)
The share of Component 6.2 decisions allocated to pitchers is set equal to the persistence coefficient from the Pitcher equation (-57.1%) divided by the sum of the two persistence coefficients (-57.1% + -1.2%). This leaves Component 6.2 decisions split 97.9% to pitchers versus 2.1% to catchers.

Persistence of Component 6 Winning Percentage: First Basemen
Pitchers:  n = 18,529, R2 = -0.2538
WinPctEven = (33.98%)*WinPctOdd + (66.02%)*0.5000 (47.42)
First Basemen:  n = 5,903, R2 = 0.0257
WinPctEven = (-46.90%)*WinPctOdd + (146.90%)*0.5000 (-23.87)
There is no significant persistence in Component 6.3 winning percentages for pitchers. Based on this, Component 6.3 decisions are allocated 100% to first basemen.
Persistence of Component 6 Winning Percentage: Second Basemen
Pitchers:  n = 21,962, R2 = 0.1193
WinPctEven = (85.91%)*WinPctOdd + (14.09%)*0.5000 (231.5)
Second Basemen:  n = 6,590, R2 = 0.2359
WinPctEven = (66.51%)*WinPctOdd + (33.49%)*0.5000 (59.31)
Component 6.4 decisions are split 56.4% to pitchers versus 43.6% to fielders.

Persistence of Component 6 Winning Percentage: Third Basemen
Pitchers:  n = 25,336, R2 = -0.0125
WinPctEven = (48.02%)*WinPctOdd + (51.98%)*0.5000 (95.20)
Third Basemen:  n = 7,663, R2 = 0.0578
WinPctEven = (28.98%)*WinPctOdd + (71.02%)*0.5000 (32.06)
Component 6.5 decisions are split 62.4% to pitchers versus 37.6% to fielders.

Persistence of Component 6 Winning Percentage: Shortstop
Pitchers:  n = 24,476, R2 = 0.4494
WinPctEven = (98.02%)*WinPctOdd + (1.98%)*0.5000 (407.2)
Shortstops:  n = 6,353, R2 = -0.0134
WinPctEven = (30.48%)*WinPctOdd + (69.52%)*0.5000 (26.79)
Component 6.6 decisions are split 76.3% to pitchers and 23.7% to fielders.

Shortstops receive the least credit for Component 6 decisions of any fielders. This makes a certain amount of sense, I think, as most extra-base hits are either hit to the outfield or are hit down the line in the infield.

Persistence of Component 6 Winning Percentage: Left Fielder
Pitchers:  n = 34,701, R2 = -0.0010
WinPctEven = (3.87%)*WinPctOdd + (96.13%)*0.5000 (6.970)
Left Fielders:  n = 12,862, R2 = 0.0541
WinPctEven = (24.01%)*WinPctOdd + (75.99%)*0.5000 (28.51)
Left fielders receive the largest percentage of Component 6 credit of any fielder (outside of 1B): 86.1%.

This reflects two things, I believe. First, most extra-base hits are to the outfield, which is reflected in outfielders receiving more credit in general than infielders, and, specific to left-fielders, the range in fielding talent is probably greatest (at least among the outfield positions) at left field, where many teams try to hide some of their worst fielders (Frank Howard, Kevin Reimer, Manny Ramirez) while other teams put players who are very fast if nothing else (Lou Brock, Rickey Henderson, Carl Crawford), which likely helps to cut off would-be extra-base hits to the gaps.

Persistence of Component 6 Winning Percentage: Center Fielder
Pitchers:  n = 34,623, R2 = -0.0108
WinPctEven = (11.49%)*WinPctOdd + (88.51%)*0.5000 (20.77)
Center Fielders:  n = 9,042, R2 = 0.0762
WinPctEven = (30.69%)*WinPctOdd + (69.31%)*0.5000 (30.19)
Pitchers receive 27.2% of Component 6.8 player decisions, while center fielders receive 72.8%.

Persistence of Component 6 Winning Percentage: Right Fielder
Pitchers:  n = 34,012, R2 = 0.0030
WinPctEven = (12.83%)*WinPctOdd + (87.17%)*0.5000 (23.43)
Right Fielders:  n = 11,343, R2 = 0.0696
WinPctEven = (28.25%)*WinPctOdd + (71.75%)*0.5000 (30.59)
Component 6 player decisions to right field are divided 31.2% to pitchers and 68.8% to right fielders.

3.    Further Thoughts on Component 6 Player Game Points
On offense, Component 6 is, of course, allocated to batters. This is obvious and, really, there is no other reasonable alternative. It is, however, open to debate whether the ability to stretch singles into doubles and doubles into triples is properly viewed as “Batting” as opposed to “Baserunning”. In general, I classify Component 6 as “batting” to be consistent with most other general batting measures, both traditional (e.g., total bases, slugging percentage) and sabermetric (e.g., runs created, batting wins), which distinguish between extra-base hits and singles. The extent to which Component 6 might be more reasonably viewed as a “baserunning” skill, however, is explored in a separate article.

Overall, Component 6 makes up about 14.9% of total fielding decisions for outfielders. In contrast, most defensive metrics focus exclusively on an outfielder’s ability to convert balls-in-play to outs (e.g., UZR, PMR, +/-, TotalZone). Attention is also generally paid to outfielders’ throwing arms and their ability to throw out baserunners and/or limit baserunner advancement (Components 8 and 9 of Player Games) – e.g., John Walsh at The Hardball Times. The ability of an outfielder to hold batters to singles, preventing extra-base hits, on the other hand, is a bit of a forgotten, but nevertheless important, defensive skill.

Component 6 leaders can be found here.

All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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